By Stephanie Moon, VI Form
Charity Concert for Zambia
The pads of my fingers were pressed against hard coils of wire, the Achilles heels of my feet were scruffed from the constant wear of dress shoes, and the lobules of my ears were vibrating to the waves of different pitches. My friends and sister were also going through the same experience; we were all performing Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite in front of a moderate-sized crowd at a chamber ensemble concert that we had directed and executed ourselves.
How was this so?
It all went back to the middle of my junior year when I received the Class of ‘68 Fellowship Grant in the early spring. I was planning on running an entire production by myself in the summer to provide donations to a religious youth institution. This organization is dedicated to expanding the fundamental right of access to healthcare. With an ambitious mindset to perform with at least eight people and do repertoires such as the Prokofiev Sonata and Mendelssohn Octet, I was more than thrilled to have this all organized. I first contacted a good friend who was also a cellist that played with me in the Phoenix Strings Orchestra back in Korea and told him about my tentative plan. Assenting, we grew to contact other talented musicians, ranging from violinists to cellists. We discussed over the phone about our tentative program, the concert venue, and budget. Between then and June 9th, we planned out what pieces we would perform, who the ensemble members would be, when we would practice, and how to divide up the passion, work, and money.
Once I got to Korea, we realized what busy schedules we had over the summer. One of our violists was going to attend a two-month summer camp abroad, while another had plans to travel around Europe. With that in mind, we had to cancel our current concert rental registration and look for other available venues that would fit within our time constraint. I had to call around and rebalance our entire schedule as well as reshuffle the budget.
To pull this off in two weeks my friends, sister, and I quickly became more than acquainted with each other. It required not only grit and determination but also teamwork.
Through this experience, we bonded through having practices every single day of the week, performing in the streets, receiving coaching from a viola teacher, and finding the concert venue together. When we finally got to stand on stage together, the communal experience that we all undoubtedly felt was indescribably blissful. Although it was grueling work, it was rewarding to feel the happiness humming around us and see the glow on our faces after we finished the concert. When we counted that we had sold over 250 tickets and received $6,000 in donations, we were astounded by our ability to create change for the betterment of the world. With this amount of contributions, we donated it all to the Youth Center in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where they have funding for orthodontists and ophthalmologists to establish medical colleges and expand healthcare across Zambia. This was one of the most empowering and humbling experiences I ever felt in the meager seventeen years of my life.